Amelia Earhart- Flight in the Friendship

By John Sexton Consultant & Agent- James D Julia Inc.

After Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight in 1927, a wealthy American woman named Amy Phipps Guest (1873 – 1959) decided she wanted to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. After her family objected, Guest asked aviator Richard Byrd and publisher George Putnam (who later would become Earhart’s manager and husband) to find the “right sort of girl for the trip”. There are many reasons Guest selected Amelia Earhart. She greatly resembled Charles Lindbergh, had a wholesome “all American” personality and of course she was an accomplished pilot who owned two airplanes and had logged over 500 hours in the air. Although Earhart had little or no time at the controls during the flight, she even stated that she felt like “a sack of potatoes”. Nonetheless, reporters were only interested in her story and not Wilmer Stoltz or Lou “Slim” Gordon who actually piloted the plane. Following the event, Earhart would have reception back in America with a ticker tape parade in New York City and a reception at the White House by President Calvin Coolidge. The “Friendship Flight” from June 17 – June 29, 1928 from New Foundland to South Wales across the Atlantic brought Amelia international attention and she became one of the most famous aviators in the world. Amelia, would however, be the first woman to ever pilot a plane across the Atlantic, flying solo in a record time of 13 hours and 13 minutes. This historic flight took place May 20 – 21, 1932. Aviation at this time was quite hazardous. At least 7 people died attempting what Lindbergh and Earhart had done in 1927 alone. Earhart’s many awards and accolades continued throughout her life in aviation until her death where she was lost at sea in 1937. Wilmer Stultz, the pilot of the Friendship Flight and among the most famous aviators of his day, died the following year at the age of 30 in a flying incident. There was a tremendous amount of intrigue and suspense in who would become the first woman to cross the Atlantic. Several teams were started and several died. Amy Phipps Guest financed Wilmer Stultz along with Arctic Explorer Richard Byrd and publisher George Putnam to be the team. A series of telegrams in the archive show that not only Earhart and Stultz were attempting to leave New Foundland, but also a rival; Mabel Boll who had offered a pilot $100,000 Francs to pilot her across the Atlantic from Paris. According to the telegrams between Stultz and his wife, Stultz wife mentions Mabel and the foggy weather at Old Orchard Beach a week prior to the flight, and on the day before the flight she remarked “Mabel can’t beat you”.

Editorial Note:
The article “Edgar Degas; a Focus on Sculpture” from our April 16, 2015 Fine Art, Asian and Antique newsletter was adapted from an article written by Clare Vincent, Associate Curator for European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The names of the original publications from which excerpts for Ms. Vincent’s essay were taken are “The Havemeyers and the Degas Bronzes,” in The Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition catalogue, Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection (New York, 1993), pp. 77-81 and “Edgar Degas (1834-1917); Bronze Sculpture,” in the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art (Oct. 2004),